Saturday, January 30, 2010

Russia Redivivus

And this time, they've fixed a classic Marxist mistake in their march to consolidation and control:
The advent of atheist Soviet rule wiped away religion as an obsolete “opiate for the masses,” which had no place in a modernized society. Yet it seems that religion did not fully fall victim to socialist crusades... In post-Soviet Russia, although images of churches converted into bars remain prominent in the memory of the Russian Orthodox Church, a significant majority of the masses find a source of comfort and stability in the institution. The elite, on the other hand, have re-discovered the power of heavenly support for their earthly undertakings... Likewise, the omni-present, omnipotent Putin-Medvedev duo has not neglected its spiritual duties and has built a close and comfortable relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church. President Medvedev’s move to assign Russian Orthodox priests to Russian troop units, as well as his efforts to make religious instruction a part of the public school curriculum, reinforces the tsarist-era notion of the Orthodox Church as an inextricable, indispensable part of Russian life. These actions also make clear that the president has found religion to be a handsome complement to his authority. Such breakdown of the church-state boundary may have alarmed Thomas Jefferson, but would have seemed perfectly fine to the Russian czars. Current Prime Minister Putin has gone further, seeking to bolster the influence of the ROC abroad...
Clever and interesting. On the one hand, kind of creepy, because this will help Russia consolidate power, extend order within its borders, and bolster them in many ways. A strengthened Russia under Putin could be a formidable force for something in days to come--not sure whether for good or evil. On the other hand, here is an expansion of the avenues of grace in a country badly in need of it. Their demographic decline is extreme. Their spiritual emptiness from the Cold War's ravages need healing. The growth of Orthodoxy may help with that. But Putin is unlikely to like the idea of any sort of rapprochement with the Catholic Church, since we are an international entity, foreign in a certain sense to the Russian state. Since they seem to be heading down the nationalist path, ecumenical initiatives would appear counterproductive to their goals. But who knows?

Vietnam's Vitriol

This is a little bit scary:
Viewed as antagonists to communist ideology, Do and his fellow Buddhists are a target of persecution inside, and now outside, Vietnam. Just days after monks at a Buddhist temple in Western Australia denounced Hanoi’s policies of religious repression, Buddhist statutes at the temple were beheaded. The incident occurred in October and November 2009. The first desecration occurred after the temple’s head monk, who is the UBCV’s Australian representative, attended a Buddhist conference in Los Angeles, where they announced their determination to oppose Hanoi’s plan to eliminate them. The second desecration occurred after this same monk sponsored a delegation of UBCV exiles to meet with the Australian government in Parliament House, Canberra. The meeting was organized to advise the government of Hanoi’s religious persecution in preparation for the Australia-Vietnam human rights dialogue to be held in December. Thus, the beheadings were clearly viewed as a warning to the Australian Buddhists. For Hanoi, the ramifications of Buddhists speaking out on human rights abuses is geopolitical, for their authoritarian regime has come under growing international pressure to cease religious persecution.
So the Communist regimes in Asia extend their reach outside their own borders in order to suppress dissent abroad as much as at home. This is not good for anybody. Are there similar cases for Christian clergy abroad?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Problem with Syncretism

The phrase "We all worship the same God" sounds all wonderful, and multicultural, and ecumenically sensitive, and tolerant, and boundlessly kind, and peaceful, and many other great things. The only problem is, it's not true.

Jesus differs from Baldur differs from Thor differs from Loki differs from Brahma differs from Thoth differs from Zeus differs from Mercury differs from Hera differs from the Roman emperor Nero. There's a reason why the pagans had a multiplicity of cults, and why some gods had recognizable counterparts in other religious systems who still differed from other gods. There are different objects of worship. They are not all the same.

The underlying truth which makes the phrase so plausible is the common divinity of all the gods. Not that all the proposed gods are divine, but that divinity is ascribed to all of them. And humans of all races, nations, religions, etc., has known what to ascribe to their gods. They know what divinity is. All humans and all human religions aim at the divine. There is a common orientation in religions to that extent. As Socrates demonstrated by his criticism of the pagan gods of the Greeks, there is a transcultural and transtemporal understanding of the nature and attributes of divinity.

But for the philosopher, a great many of the gods and objects of religious worship fall short of the high standard set by those attributes of divinity. Not all gods are equally worthy of worship, or equally manifest the divine attributes. Not all the objects of worship are God. But why does this common notion of divinity exist? Because there is a basic equality between human beings deriving from our shared nature.

Further, we are all created by God, designed by him in his own image and likeness, intended for union with the divine life. Therefore, all human beings have a basic common orientation towards God. Religion, the realization that there is a God and he deserves our worship, is a natural human phenomenon. But there was a fall, a long time ago, and humanity is wounded. Therefore, absent the self revelation of God, we shall always fall short of true worship and true honor--true religion.

Absent Christ, the Word of God made flesh, the full manifestation of the divine in human history, all religion is partial. Absent the final eschatological coming of Christ, all experience and participation in God awaits final confirmation and completion. "At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known." (1 Cor. 13:12) Absent God's working, we can do nothing.

Monday, January 25, 2010

And a Good Point

On March for Life media coverage:
This story happens every year. The mainstream media doesn’t cover the March for Life enough. And when it does, its coverage is incompetent or biased. These complaints happen every year too. Why is that? It’s not the journalists’ job to report on every event in Washington. They have a world to cover. However, it is the job of pro-life leaders to secure as much accurate and favorable media coverage as possible. Media companies need to be convinced the March for Life is important. Decades into the March for Life, they aren't convinced yet...
I think this is an actual explanation of a point Kathy Shaidle has made repeatedly in her blunt way. If the pro-life leadership was truly serious, the movement would do things differently. I'm not in any way a pro-life leader, so I'm not sure how much right I have to comment. But at the very least, the above comment seems correct. How much lead time does the March give reporters? I doubt most people really pay attention to the upcoming anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It's the sort of thing that gets mentioned the next day in the newspapers or on the news, and people look at each other and go, "Was that yesterday? Wow, I had no idea." And surely there are ways of ginning up greater attention ahead of time.

Apostolic Visitation of Women Religious

How you can help:

Ann Carey, author of Sisters in Crisis: The Tragic Unraveling of Women’s Religious Communities, has set up a Yahoo Group that allows loyal Catholic nuns to contact each other, exchange news about their orders, and provide information to the Vatican—all while preserving their own anonymity.

Why, you might ask, would the good sisters want to remain anonymous? Because they live in communities dominated by radical feminism, and they fear reprisals if they dare to speak out in defense of Catholic tradition. That’s a measure of how thoroughly many religious orders have been corrupted by the spirit of the age. It’s also an indication of how urgent it is to provide some guidance for these communities—and, not incidentally, some support for the poor nuns (in most cases elderly) who are living through the chaos.

Learn more about Sisters Supporting Apostolic Visitation here. Perhaps you know a few nuns who should be introduced to the group.

This is all the more important when the head of the visitation must prompt the communities of women religious to cooperate with the visitation:
The American nun who has been appointed by the Vatican to conduct an apostolic visitation of American women’s religious orders has written to the leaders of women’s religious communities, asking for their cooperation in the inquiry. Mother Mary Clare Millea’s letter, dated January 12, implicitly acknowledges that many religious orders have failed to respond to earlier requests. Mother Millea was appointed by the Congregation for Religious to head the apostolic visitation. Last year she sent questionnaires to the leaders of women’s religious orders, asking that they be returned by November 20. Many religious orders, joining in a refusal to cooperate with the Vatican inquiry, did not respond.
The next step, should the recalcitrance continue, seems remarkably unclear. A case by case investigation, which could drag on for years? Some mechanism for faithful religious to exit their orders, enter into faithful orders, and the closure or permitted extinction of existing orders? Or some sort of special mandate to the bishops to handle the problems in targeted communities and notify the Vatican of action taken by a certain deadline?

Peggy Noonan on Senator Scott Brown

She has an excellent comment here:

Speaking broadly: In the 2006 and 2008 elections, and at some point during the past decade, the ancestral war between Democrats and the Republicans began to take on a new look. If you were a normal human sitting at home having a beer and watching national politics peripherally, as normal people do until they focus on an election, chances are pretty good you came to see the two major parties not as the Dems versus the Reps, or the blue versus the red, but as the Nuts versus the Creeps. The Nuts were for high spending and taxing and the expansion of government no matter what. The Creeps were hypocrites who talked one thing and did another, who went along on the spending spree while lecturing on fiscal solvency.

In 2008, the voters went for Mr. Obama thinking he was not a Nut but a cool and sober moderate of the center-left sort. In 2009 and 2010, they looked at his general governing attitudes as reflected in his preoccupations—health care, cap and trade—and their hidden, potential and obvious costs, and thought, "Uh-oh, he's a Nut!"

Which meant they were left with the Creeps.

But the Republican candidates in Virginia and New Jersey, and now Scott Brown in Massachusetts, did something amazing. They played the part of the Creep very badly! They put themselves forward as serious about spending, as independent, not narrowly partisan. Mr. Brown rarely mentioned he was a Republican, and didn't even mention the party in his victory speech. Importantly, their concerns were on the same page as the voters'. They focused on the relationship between spending and taxing, worried about debt and deficits, were moderate in their approach to social issues. They didn't have wedge issues, they had issues.

The contest between the Nuts and the Creeps may be ending. The Nuts just got handed three big losses, and will have to have a meeting in Washington to discuss whether they've gotten too nutty. But the Creeps have kind of had their meetings—in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. And what seems to be emerging from that is a new and nonsnarling Republicanism. It may be true—and they will demonstrate in time if it is true—that they have learned from past defeats, absorbed the lessons, reconsidered the meaning of politics. Maybe in time it will be said of this generation of Republicans what André Malraux said to Whittaker Chambers after reading his memoir, "Witness": "You did not come back from hell with empty hands."

A well played analysis, I think. As she acknowledges, speaking very broadly. But still, a good analysis. Both parties are publicly understood to be massively hypocritical. Neither side can be trusted to do what they promise, or even come close to promising what they can or will do. So all that's left for the electorate is to smack the parties around until they start doing what the people want them to do, which is fix the problems facing the country, fight our enemies, bring prosperity, and do it all with the minimal amount of congressional acquisition of wealth. If they can't do that, at least keep the wealth acquisition under the table and accomplish the first few goals. We understand the desire to get wealthy. Just govern well, please.

When They Claim the Women Weren't There

Don't believe a word of it. I was there and saw the women out in force. There was a large contingent from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign carrying signs saying "I Regret My Abortion"--their cofounders spoke at the rally. And a majority of the crowd was young--students from high schools and colleges from across the country out in force to March for Life. At least half the crowd was female, if not more. The Mall was jam packed with people--it was difficult to move at times, actually. There was literally a sea of people there, with ripples and currents showing up as people tried to move through the crowd, setting of chain reactions of people bumping into people. Signs were out in force. Steven Greydanus responds to CNN and other news outlets who obviously were not at the same March I attended:
I glanced at some of the mainstream media coverage of the march. The mendacity of the MSM is not to be believed.’s the lede on’s “coverage” of the March:

Abortion rights supporters and opponents hit the streets of the nation’s capital Friday to mark the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling establishing a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

“Abortion rights supporters and opponents.” Supporters first, opponents second, with no indication whatsoever of the relative sizes of the two groups. Nowhere in the article is there any indication whatsoever of how many of each group were present. Not even “tens of thousands” or even just “thousands” of pro-lifers. Just “Abortion rights supporters and opponents.”

...This was not a meeting or juxtaposition of two opposed demonstrations, however equal or unequal. It was a massive pro-life demonstration with a few counter-demonstrators. We were the event; they were a tiny footnote. That is simply a fact that the piece is nakedly attempting to bury...

Ironically, even that one photographic bit of evidence from the buried photo refutes another lie promoted by a blog post, that “young women” were “missing” at the March—that “a majority of the participants are in their 60s.”

Take a gander at’s buried picture. Who’s carrying that banner? Why ... They’re all young women! I guess CNN didn’t get the memo on the “no young women” meme.

The post does go on to indicate that the “no young women” meme is based on previous years, and that a “surge of young women” is possible this year. I was there last year too. There was no shortage of young women.

“A majority of the participants are in their 60s”? A majority? As in over half? Is Newsweek serious? If one person in 20 was in their 60s, it would be a lot. Take another look at that photo. Can you find anyone who looks like they’re probably in their 60s? If you look long and hard enough, you might find enough to count on one hand. How many can you find who look to be in their 20s or 30s? It’s like every other person...

His live-blogging from the March captures the sheer size of the event. Again--I don't think I've ever been in a crowd that large before. This Washington Post commentator attended the same March I did:
I went to the March for Life rally Friday on the Mall expecting to write about its irrelevance. Isn't it quaint, I thought, that these abortion protesters show up each year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, even though the decision still stands after 37 years. What's more, with a Democrat in the White House likely to appoint justices who support abortion rights, surely the Supreme Court isn't going to overturn Roe in the foreseeable future. How wrong I was...I was especially struck by the large number of young people among the tens of thousands at the march. It suggests that the battle over abortion will endure for a long time to come.

"We are the pro-life generation," said signs carried by the crowd, about half its members appearing to be younger than 30. There were numerous large groups of teenagers, many bused in by Roman Catholic schools and youth groups. They and their adult leaders said the youths were taught from an early age to oppose abortion...

And I really don't think I saw a single pro-choice protester during the March. I looked. I really expected some strong reactions this year in the wake of the Stupak Amendment, the Brown election, and the sudden crisis for the health care legislation, but all I could see was the massive tidal wave of pro-lifers unable to move at times because of the sheer number of people.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

British Comedy

See, there's the thing about living in the world--every so often you look at something that, well, you're used to and it's part of the background because it's always there. But then...well, then some forgotten corner of your brain perks up and says, "Hang on a minute! If we were characters in a novel, or a movie, or something, that right there would MEAN something! Actually, that would mean something so strongly, many people would complain about the author being heavy-handed with his symbolism! Melodramatic, even! I mean, honestly, you don't name your bad guy ______--that just screams bad guy!" Sometimes it means something. Sometimes it doesn't. But it always makes me wonder...

"Not Something to Celebrate"

An interesting post by Tom Kreitzburg (creator of the wondrous Reeves and Booster stories):
"Waterboarding Wins": That's how NRO's Marc Thiessen characterizes Scott Brown's electoral win in Massachusetts yesterday. Thiessen writes: As I point out in Courting Disaster, polls show the American people are with us on terrorist interrogation. An April 2009 Pew Poll found that 71 percent of American said there were circumstances in which they would support the use of enhanced interrogation ("torture" they called it, of course, but that makes the number even more stark). The less significant point to make is that the first quoted sentence reiterates the claim that political conservatism in the United States is defined in part by advocacy of torture...The more significant point to make is that Thiessen completely misreads the April 2009 Pew Poll. He thinks the fact that 71% of American think "torture," and not merely "enhanced interrogation," should be safe, legal, and rare is a good sign about what Americans think about what he sees as a position that is part and parcel of political conservatism. In fact, it is a sign that a great majority of Americans are gravely immoral. That the population is morally depraved in a direction that helps your candidates win elections is not something to celebrate.
A point that both parties really need reminding of on a regular basis.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interesting Cultural Datapoint

Gay Hilary Clinton supporting moderate democrats from Chicago with a blog decide to support McCain/Palin in the last presidential election, have been supporting Scott Brown in the race in Massachusetts, and have apparently triggered the wrath of the farther Left political machine to the point of being the subject of real physical danger. They've declared their intention to fight. The post in question follows. I think we may run the risk of living in a novel before too long. Especially when their heroes appear to be Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and (no kidding) St. Patrick.

Dear Readers,

The Massachusetts Senate race between Martha Coakley and Scott Brown has us thinking about J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Buffy the Vampire Slayer a lot today, oddly enough. Which, at least in terms of Buffy, isn’t an unusual thing for us to be doing on a random Tuesday, but this race, and the Left’s response to it, have given these thoughts a whole new meaning.

Without getting into the ugly details and specifics, because we’re trying to cling to some semblance of privacy and a personal life here, we were warned two weeks ago to discontinue our support for Republican candidate Scott Brown or suffer consequences for backing him, at the expense of Martha Coakley. We were told, point blank, by Democrats in Chicago that people on the Left had “had enough with (us), and were going to come after (us), in a big way” if we didn’t stop rallying the troops for Scott Brown’s win over Coakley. We were given the ultimatum: either drop our support for Brown and the Left would leave us alone, or continue speaking out on Hottie McAwesome’s behalf and “just see what happens”.

Well, never let it be said that a hot and awesome guy needed help and we just sat there and did nothing, especially not when we felt America itself was at stake with what’s been going on in the Senate lately.

We told you previously that a main reason we aggressively backed Brown for the Senate seat was because of the way Democrats conducted themselves in the week before Christmas. Perhaps it was Christmas itself that really brought the fire out in us, since we were so disgusted Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emanuel, and the current president were so shameless as to use CHRISTMAS, and the distraction it naturally causes, as cover to ram through an unconstitutional piece of legislation riddled with pork, graft, and corruption that few in this country seem to want. That repulsed us.

We were further sickened by the fact that Demcorats insisted on handling this legislation in the dead of night, behind closed, locked doors, with no cameras in sight, rushing to vote on it at breakneck speed before Christmas Eve.

This is not how legislation this complex and world-changing should be handled. This is not how the United States Senate should operate. Regardless of what you think about healthcare reform, as an American, we don’t know how you could support EITHER party behaving this way with legislation that has such a vast and unprecedented impact on our economy, at a time when so many we know are out of work, and so many Americans’ jobs are hanging by threads. This healthcare bill should have been written in sunlight, after spirited debate not only in the Senate, but in town halls across the country where Americans of all stripes could have come together and, after much thought and consideration, devised a plan that would work for this nation. Something we could afford. Something we could pay for. Something that would not bankrupt us and cross the unconstitutional line of forcing, for the first time in history, citizens to purchase products against their personal will and free choice.

But, that’s not how the 60 Democrats in the Senate chose to conduct themselves.

That’s when all 60 of these people lost our support.

It’s why we started rooting for whomever will oppose them in their next elections.

There aren’t words to describe how agonizing this was for us in some cases, because there are Democrats in the Senate we genuinely love, whose photos are on our Hall of Heroes here at Buzzquarters. “Say it ain’t so, Evan”…”Tell us it’s not true, Barbara Mikulski”…”You too, Roland?”. We have emotional connections to a great many Democrats, whether we like what they do on a regular basis or not. Previous to the Christmas vote on this monstrous Healthcare Rationing bill, those personal feelings always trumped whatever else we thought of how these people behaved in office. But, all that changed Christmas Eve.

Not a single Democrat stood up and said, “This is madness. We can’t force something like this through in the dead of night or break all of our promises for transparency like this. I must vote against this bill until it is handled in a more honorable and democratic way.” Not a single one of them had the guts to stand up to their party, to stand up for regular Americans.

So, we looked to candidate Scott Brown, and his promise to defeat this monstrous Healthcare Rationing bill, and we knew we had to go all-in for him. Even if that meant, as we were warned here in Chicago, that the Left would come after us.

Now, we were naive to think these people were either bluffing, or were exaggerating. Honestly, we thought the extent of the attacks would be more of the same thing these people usually do, which is to say bad things about this site, to fill our voicemails up with nasty messages, to send more hatemail to our email telling us how much they want us to get AIDS and die, or how they’re going to find us in Boystown and beat us up. These are the people who threw rocks through our windows in 2008 because we had Hillary Clinton posters in them, and who’ve called us racists consistently for not supporting Dr. Utopia, as either a candidate or the Socialist in Chief he is now. That’s what the Left does to anyone who defies them: they call you a racist, harass you, and threaten violence against you.

They really crossed a line this time, though. They are no longer just attacking the entity that is “HillBuzz”, but those at the Daily Kos, DemocraticUnderground, and other George Soros, DNC-backed troll mills have ratcheted up their attacks to the personal level. Unlike Michelle Malkin, Erik Erikson over at Red State, or even people like Nikke Finke at DeadlineHollywood or Harry Knowles at AintItCoolNews, we’ve maintained this site anonymously because we wanted to have personal lives apart from writing original content on the Internets. 99% of you have respected this convention, and have allowed us to just be the “HillBuzz boys”, or other variations on whatever you call us. That’s allowed us to be both Batman and Bruce Wayne, which means we can still have jobs, go out and have fun, and enjoy life while spending half our time each day working our hearts out for our love of country in service of whatever we can do to defeat Liberals and stop socialism from taking over this nation.

But, the Kossacks and Moveon.organisms have decided to attack us on the personal, not just the site, level. They are using some of our real names, urging their members to do us personal and physical harm in our real lives, and calling us racists over and over again in the hopes of making us unemployable in the future — because they’ve libeled us by calling us RAAACISTS! on that personal level.

And, you know what, this tactic does have an immediate psychological and financial impact. This weekend, after these attacks from the Kossacks and Moveon.organism began, we lost two freelance jobs because the nonprofits we were working with felt they can’t be associated with people who are being called racists, since these nonprofits work in the black community and here in Chicago there is a neverending turf war on the Southside, where anything is game when it comes to business or politics. People who’ve worked with us in the past decided their own jobs would be in jeopardy if they had us on upcoming projects, because if the black community was riled up against these organizations for having people called RAAACISTS! on the team, then their own jobs would be lost. The way it works is this: if you have a job in the black community, there is always someone out there who wants that job instead of you, and that person will look for any sort of hook to yank you from that job so they can take it. This RAAACIST garbage is always a favorite hook.

And it is the chief weapon of the Left against just about everyone.

They’ve been using this for decades now.

They use it to scare people into silence. They force people to drop what they are doing and spend hours defending themselves, trying to prove they’re not what they were accused of. They demoralize you with the RAAACIST rants, and try to ruin your lives with them. They cost you work, take food off your table, and threaten your personal safety and well being.

The Left did this to the Clintons in 2008.

The Left does this to Sarah Palin.

The Left has done this to too many people to ever count.

The Left is doing this to us now, on a personal level, because we backed Scott Brown, came up with the Hottie McAwesome tactic to defuse their best attacks against him, and refused to buckle and shut up when we were told to.

Now, we were told by several good friends not to talk about any of this, and not to write a post like this taking this on directly. We were also advised to “just stop writing” and all of this would go away eventually. There was even one Democrat who advised us, “if you just stop, and close down the site, I’ll see to it that Kos and the others remove what they are saying, and we’ll help you clean things up on Google”. That sure felt like extortion to us.

This is really what Democrats have become at this point.

The party we loved our whole life has been taken over by thugs, who threaten, libel, malign, persecute, and extort anyone who does not fall in line with their Liberal-Socialist agenda. We’ve been on the receiving end of this harassment since November of 2007, when we started campaigning in Iowa for Hillary Clinton and first found ourselves on the receiving ends of Alinsky Method techniques. All of that increased 10, 100, and 1000 fold after we launched this site, started up Democrats for McCain efforts after Hillary suspended her presidential bid in June 2008, and we started actively promoting Sarah Palin as America’s best hope for the future in 2009.

There have been many times when we wanted to walk away from all of this, because it’s an immense amount of work, it’s largely thankless, we’re persecuted every day for it, and it takes away from our quality of life and limits our ability to actually go out and have some fun while we’re young. But, we keep at it because, for whatever reason, the Left considers us a major threat.

We are as surprised about that as anyone.

What we tell you here, in our essays, to us at least, is just common sense. We call the MSM out on its lies, we hit back against whatever propaganda the White House is directing, and we tell you how to beat the Left at its own game, since we’ve been Democrats our whole lives and have watched these people operate on the ground level. We know these thugs. We’ve worked alongside them, even if we never engaged in their methods. We’re moderate Democrats who are so alienated by what the Liberal-Socialist Democrat party is today that we’ve been actively teaching other moderates (and conservative and independents, too) how to stand up to these bullies, be unafraid, and do what needs to be done to take back this country.

We’re writing to you today to tell you that our resolve has never been stronger to continue doing this. In fact, we plan on increasing our efforts and committing even more time to this site than ever — reaching out to all of you for ways we can grow, evolve, embrace a larger audience, and provide daily action items that are laser-focused and directed at crippling the Left, the Alinsky Method machine, ACORN, the SEIU, and the current DNC itself.

There’s a line in the third Indiana Jones movie where someone says, “all of Germany has declared war on the Jones boys”. We’re reminded of that today, feeling “all of the Left has declared war on the Buzz Boys”.

We say bring it on.

We’re single, and don’t have families to worry about. We’ve been attacked for two years now by these lunatics, so being attacked even more than usual really shouldn’t phase us. It’s jarring that the Left has taken things to the personal level, but maybe we should be flattered by that. Must mean we are really getting to them…that the Scott Brown race in Massachusetts was some kind of turning point. They didn’t even attack us on the personal level back in the primaries or the general election. So, why now? Why was Scott Brown in Massachusetts and “The Kennedy Seat” so important that they went to Defcon-5 on us over it? That’s a puzzler.

And it all reminds us of Harry Potter in Rowlings books, and how Voldemort himself created Harry. Repeatedly, it’s said that Voldemort’s own attack gave birth to his ultimate foe…and that everything Voldemort did to Harry increased his strength and ability to fight back and ultimately defeat him, at the great Battle of Hogwarts in the final book. If Voldemort had left Potter alone, and had never attacked him, then there never would have been a Harry Potter, with lightning bolt scar, to rise up and stop him.

We’re telling you this now, there would not be a HillBuzz if not for the Left’s attacks. We started this site to address the Left’s RAAACIST allegations against the Clintons, to smack back against the Left’s sexism and misogyny as employed against Clinton, and we’ve kept this site going to fight every Alinksy trick the Left’s pulled ever since. Every time they attack us, we become increasingly more engaged in what we are doing, we reach out to more people and build new alliances, and become more determined than ever to devote as much time as possible to bringing the Left down once and for all.

And yes, as gay guys here in Chicago, we’re channeling Buffy more than a little too. Like Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin too, Buffy went through an endless Hell at the hands of her foes. She went up against vampires, demons, werewolves, you name it, and was never allowed to have a normal life, to do things with her friends without being harassed, to wake up in the morning and not wonder who was trying to kill her that day, or who wanted to destroy her family or take away everything that she worked for. Into every generation, there’s a slayer who’s called to stand up to these monsters.

Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin have both answered the call to stand up for America against all its foes. They’re both attacked every day by someone, and called all sorts of vile names by the Left in particular. But, they wake up every day, work hard, and soldier on. Clearly, this country is worth fighting for to them. Both of them have enough money that they could easily go off to some wonderful retirement, or devote themselves to uncontroversial charitable causes that would remove them from attacks and give them more peace of mind.

Buffy could have turned her back on everything and wandered off into a quiet life herself, but the demons and vampires would have won.

This weekend was a fork in the road for us. We had to make the decision on whether or not we wanted to continue speaking out on politics in the face of personal attacks that have jeopardized our livelihood, our personal safety, and our lives as we know it. Is writing for this site and talking to all of you every day worth that? Is America worth fighting for if it could cost us everything?

Hells yah.


We are more committed than every to working hard every day from now until 2012 to ensure Dr. Utopia is defeated, is exiled to Hawaii as a one-term Carteresque president, and that every Liberal is driven from Washington like the snakes from Ireland. In fact, on the mirror in the bathroom here at Buzzquarters, we have that last line tacked up on a Post-in. LIKE THE SNAKES FROM IRELAND. This motivates us to keep on fighting, keep on writing, and raise our game to new levels to do everything we can to provide the grassroots strategy to take down the Left.

There’s a good chance the Kossacks and Moveon.organisms will beat us. Maybe they’ll even make good on their threats and kill us. Believe us, we take every precaution we can, but these people are seriously mentally ill, and prove it by doing the things they did this weekend. There is a real and true chance that staying involved in politics, in the face of their threats, could cost us everything.

So, just know that we don’t take that lightly. We’ve thought about buckling, and walking away, disappearing into silence. It would make all the demons, vampires, Voldemorts, and Liberals leave us alone.

But, we just can’t sit by, quietly, and watch these people drive the country into the ground.

We’ll make a deal with all of you out there: we will continue to work hard and never give up, never let these threats and attacks phase us, if you would just raise your own game to help counter the Left too.

By no means are we asking you to put yourselves into the hurricane too. We will take that heat for you, but we need you to help us with Action Items. We need you to help us put immense pressure on every Democrat, and every Democrat donor to the DNC, to grind the current administration’s socialist agenda to a halt.

We need you to break all habits of sitting around and doing nothing, and start getting involved in your communities, to start mobilizing your friends, family, and neighbors to hold our government accountable.

We need you to stand up to the MSM and get through to all the complacent, pessimistic Eeyores out there.

We need you to form a counter force to the Left, and its legions of trolls, orcs, goblins and other monsters.

We’re under assault because we, through no intention of our own oddly enough, have become a rallying point. We posed a threat to these Kossacks and Moveon.organisms, a threat to the Soros agenda, and we’re taking heat for it. That must mean we are on the right track.

It is our fervent wish that no matter what happens to us, that a group of gay guys in Chicago standing up to these bullies inspired others coast to coast to do the same. And once you stand up to them, we hope you inspire even MORE people to do the same…and so on and so on, until one day the Left realizes they are outnumbered and surrounded by people who are just not going to take their garbage anymore.

In about two years, if we work hard, we believe we can see to it that Liberals are exiled from power and influence for the next 30 years. We can defeat them from the school board level all the way up to the White House. We can roll back all of their PC nonsense, all of their economy-killing “progressive measures”, and even take back the educational system and remove all the brainwashing they’re inflicting upon our children. It’s not going to be easy, and the Left will resist us kicking and screaming, lashing out like demons in an exorcism, but if we work hard we will win.

The irony of all this, to us, is that if Liberalism and “the progressive agenda” were really so wonderful, you’d think these people wouldn’t have to resort to calling people who oppose them RAAACISTS, trying to ruin them, threaten physical violence against them, or want to see them die of AIDS or otherwise be killed.

If what the Liberals are selling is so wonderful, so chock full of unicorns and Hope-and-Changey delicious Kool-Aid, then why do they have to use Alinsky tactics and thuggery to advance their cause?

Why do these people have to behave like villains from books, TV, and movies if they are so enlightened and they really know what’s best for everyone?

We’ll continue to ask these questions, and many more, in the days, weeks, months, and YEARS to come, God willing, and with your continued and much needed support.

We can’t do this alone, especially not in light of the increased attacks, but we will strive to do our level best for this country…and we hope you stand up with us as much as you can.


A Gladio Roundup

Most of these come from Time magazine archives. Nato's Secret Armies

The cold war was near absolute zero, the Korean War was raging, and the West could almost hear the Soviet tanks gunning their engines on the other side of the Iron Curtain. The U.S. and its European allies were determined not to be caught as unprepared as they had been when the Nazis invaded. So in the early 1950s they began training "stay behind" networks of volunteers. If the Soviet army rolled west, the groups were to gather intelligence, open escape routes and form resistance movements.

Originally advised and financed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, many of the units and their clandestine arms caches were later taken over by the military intelligence organizations of West European countries and coordinated by a NATO committee. "It seemed like a pretty sensible business," recalls Harry Rositzke, a retired CIA officer who handled anti- Soviet operations in Munich in the mid-1950s. "But then, we were all hysterical at the time."

Nor has the emotion completely ebbed now that Europe is remaking itself. Last week in Italy and Belgium, investigators were looking into possible links between the clandestine networks and episodes of right-wing terrorism during the past 20 years. In Rome, Admiral Fulvio Martini, head of military intelligence, testified before a parliamentary committee. Italy's paramilitary group, dubbed Gladio (Sword), had 622 members and 139 stockpiles of arms and explosives hidden around the country, Martini said. When the caches were gathered up in 1972, he added, 10 were found empty. One of them had contained eight kilos of plastic explosive, leading left-wing politicians to voice suspicion that the plastic had been used for the neofascist terrorism that plagued Italy in the 1970s and '80s.

The Belgian government is investigating the possibility that its secret resistance members might have been responsible for a wave of terrorist raids on supermarkets near Brussels in which 27 people were killed between 1983 and 1985. As the accusations echoed across the Continent, France and Greece announced that their clandestine volunteer groups had been disbanded...

Italy: A Double-Edged Sword
The story seems straight from the pages of a political thriller. During the early days of the cold war, the Italian government, assisted by the CIA, sets up a clandestine paramilitary network designed to resist a communist invasion. Code name: Operation Gladio, as in a gladiator's double-edged sword. Skip ahead to last July, when a Venetian magistrate named Felice Casson, investigating a 1970s car bombing in Peteano, uncovers the network while searching through files at SISMI, the Italian intelligence service. When Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti admits Gladio did exist, a national scandal ensues. Most disturbing are suspicions that renegade Gladio agents may have been involved in right-wing terrorism in the 1960s and '70s. Last week, during an address to Parliament, Andreotti insisted Gladio was completely justified by the climate of the times and chided the opposition for "insinuating suspicions." He insisted that although Gladio had a military structure, "it had never been involved in terrorist activities." Meanwhile, Casson has summoned President Francesco Cossiga to testify on the Peteano attack.

Turkey Busts Alleged Murder Network
Turkey's Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk might sleep a little easier tonight — or not. A series of dramatic arrests over the weekend has laid bare what is alleged to be a shadowy network of ultra-nationalist killers with connections in high places. Their hit list allegedly included the famous writer, targeted for speaking out about Turkey's patchy treatment of its minorities. The allegations, widely reported by Turkish newspapers, are certainly as dark as anything Pamuk ever wrote. Istanbul prosecutors have arrested 13 people, including a former general and a high-profile lawyer, on charges of "provoking armed rebellion against the government." They are suspected of involvement in last year's string of nationalist-motivated murders, which cost the lives of prominent ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and three Christian missionaries, according to newspapers...

Of those, Veli Kucuk, a retired major general, was allegedly plotting to kill Pamuk, Turkish newspapers reported. Kucuk is suspected of running a secret unit within police forces that carried out bombings and killings for which other groups were widely blamed. Also arrested was Kemal Kerincsiz, a nationalist lawyer responsible for numerous cases against Pamuk, Dink and other intellectuals. None of the suspects have spoken about the charges.

"If they are true, it suggests there are two parallel universes in Turkey," says Hakan Altinay, director of the Open Society Institute, a think tank. "There are people who wake up every morning and plan murders of political opponents, plot coups and how to destabilize the country," he said.

Most Turks have long suspected the existence of a covert web of elements within the security forces and bureaucracy who act outside the law to uphold their own political ends. There is even a household name for it: the "deep state," referring to a state within the state.

Newspapers have suggested that this network is the Turkish remnant of Gladio, a Cold War-era program, orchestrated by the U.S. in several NATO countries, to create a covert paramilitary force to counter Communist activities.

Gladio in Italy appears to have had some rather highly placed friends with close ties to the finances of Vatican City State. Italy: Bank Error

His passport identified him as an Argentine citizen named Bruno Rizzi. He turned up one day last week at a Geneva branch of the prestigious Bank of Switzerland to withdraw money — as much as $60 million, according to some reports — from numbered accounts. But Swiss police swiftly arrested him. His real identity: Licio Gelli, 63, an Italian businessman sought for 16 months for his part in two of the biggest scandals to rock Italy in years.

Gelli, who held dual Italian-Argentine citizenship, had been on the run since last year after a police raid on his luxurious villa in Arezzo, 130 miles north of Rome. There, they discovered, the financier also served as "venerable master" of a bizarre Masonic lodge known as Propaganda Due, or P2. Its membership of nearly 1,000 included powerful Italian politicians, military men and police. The fact that Gelli was apparently using the lodge to achieve political power in Italy unleashed such a furor that high military and security officials whose names were found on the rolls were forced to resign; so was Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani, though he was not a P2 member. Gelli's name was also linked to the collapse of Milan's Banco Ambrosiano, whose president, Roberto Calvi, was not only a member of P2, but was believed to be the lodge's paymaser, allegedly funding right-wing Latin leaders who were friends of Gelli's.

With an Italian prison term awaiting him, Calvi fled to London. There he apparently hanged himself last June, although many Italians believe he was murdered. An attorney general of a Swiss canton has since discovered that close to $100 million of Banco Ambrosiano's money had been stashed in numbered Geneva accounts. And Licio Gelli knew the numbers...

Staggering charges await Gelli in Italy if, as expected, he is extradited. They will probably include political and military espionage, illegal possession of state secrets and fraud. Magistrates investigating yet another incident that rocked Italy have reason to suspect that Gelli played a behind-the-scenes role in the explosion of a terrorist bomb in the Bologna railroad station on Aug. 2, 1980. The bomb killed 85 people and injured another 182.

Calvi was also known as "God's Banker." Italy: The Great Vatican Bank Mystery

A tale of two deaths, twelve investigations and missing millions

Two suicides, both of which could conceivably be murder. As much as $1.2 billion in unsecured loans. The failure of Italy's huge Banco Ambrosiano, which has left more than 200 international financial institutions holding the bag for millions in loans. A scandal that has threatened the stability of the entire international banking system and has begun to bring about subtle changes in the way the world's major banks do business. A secret plot to undermine the government of Italy and to change the shape of politics in several Latin American countries.

Even if these were the only ingredients, the story would still be intriguing enough for a Robert Ludlum thriller. But an added element is making the scandal that has rocked the world of international finance one of the most compelling real-life mysteries of the century: the involvement of the Istituto per le Opere di Religione (I.O.R.), better known as the Vatican bank.

Founded in 1942 to invest and increase the funds given to the Holy See for religious works, the I.O.R. is much like any other international commercial bank. It accepts savings and checking accounts, transfers funds in and out of the Vatican and makes investments. There are, however, some interesting differences in the bank, which is tucked away in the medieval tower of Sixtus V. Depositors must be connected with the Vatican. The list of those eligible includes members of the Curia (the Pope has a personal account, No. 16/16), the 729 permanent residents of Vatican City, and a small group of clergymen and laymen who have regular business dealings with the Vatican. No others need apply. The bank's assets are thought to be modest by international standards. For that reason, the scandal is especially threatening to the I.O.R.: Italian authorities say the bank may be liable for much of the millions the Banco Ambrosiano Group owed to international banks.

The scandal has also brought a wave of unwelcome attention to the Vatican bank's American-born president, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus. So far no one has openly accused Marcinkus of any illegal acts. But he is one of three Vatican officials under investigation by Italian authorities, who have indicated that Marcinkus could ultimately be charged. Serious questions are also being raised about his judgment and competence, specifically about his willingness to let the Vatican bank and its good name be used by international wheeler-dealers. At least eleven other official inquiries into Banco Ambrosiano's affairs are under way, in Italy, Britain, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Bahamas and Peru. As those investigations stumble forward, the archbishop's once promising career is endangered, and the affair threatens to become an embarrassment for Pope John Paul II...

There's much more in this last article, well worth reading the whole thing. What does this add up to? The Church is a divinely established institution run by human beings and sustained by the Holy Spirit or else we'd have been gone a long time ago. Both sides of the Cold War utilized some rather nasty infiltration techniques and probably still have operations and influence in place that we've all kind of forgotten. There's probably a connection in a lot of modern jihadist activity to the Cold War, by means of old alliances used for new things, money and training that were meant for an older war now being used in the current war, and resources and organizations around the world that may be reactivated, if the need is perceived.

Operation Gladio

This BBC article on the release of Mehmet Ali Agca, attempted murderer of Pope John Paul II, connects him to a fascinating bit of Cold War history with which I was, up until recently, unfamiliar:

The Grey Wolves group, with which he was associated at the time of the shooting, was linked to an underground network known as Gladio.

This was set up with CIA support in a number of European countries during the Cold War to prepare resistance to a possible Soviet invasion.

In both Italy and Turkey, Gladio networks are believed to have been behind numerous bombings and assassinations.

In Italy, the networks have been exposed and dismantled; in Turkey, they are still widely believed to exist as a so-called "deep state", with support from elements of the military.

There are ongoing trials of dozens of people accused of involvement in illegal, deep-state activities.

Agca was certainly helped to escape from prison in 1979 by his guards and some well-known underground right-wing figures. He was given false passports and enough funds to enable him to travel around Europe for several months before the attempted assassination.

Gladio came to my attention in connection with the Propaganda Due Masonic Lodge scandal in Italy, a massive affair implicating most of the upper levels of Italian public life, and entangling any number of other people in the tendrils of its reach. Anyone interested in one possible account of both these affairs from the perspective of Catholic internal politics should check out this novel--the sort of book Dan Brown dreams of being able to write. I should caution you, though--the author's a liar.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Useful Reminder to us All

I love this description:
Novatianism, in the tests which it used, its efforts after a perfectly pure communion, its crotchetty interpretations of Scripture, and many other features, presents a striking parallel to many modern sects. [See Dict. Chr. Biog., Blunt, Sects and heresies, Ceillier, II. 427, etc.]
Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pius XII, Righteous Gentile

Once again, the canard is resurrected that Pius XII failed to act or speak out against the Hitlerian genocide of the Jews. Once again, it must be refuted:
The claim that Pius XII was “silent” during the Holocaust is contradicted by his own wartime statements, and those who praised them after the war. When he died in 1958, the Jewish community hailed his wartime leadership, above all because he did “speak out.”

Golda Meir, then Israel’s Foreign Minister, reacted with this tribute: “We share in the grief of humanity at the passing away of His Holiness, Pope Pius XII. In a generation afflicted by wars and discords, he upheld the highest ideals of peace and compassion. When fearful martydom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the Pope was raised in compassion for the victims.”(Reuters, October 10,1958)

In his first encyclical, Summi Pontificatus (October, 1939), in his Christmas addresses, in his radio appeals, in his allocution to the College of Cardinals on June 2, 1943, Pius XII condemned race-based murder, and thus came to the clear, public defense of European Jews - a fact recognized at the time, even if it is generally ignored or denied today.

On October 1, 1942, the Times of London editorialized: “A study of the words which Pope Pius XII has addressed since his accession in encyclicals and allocutions to the Catholics of various nations leaves no room for doubt. He condemns the worship of force and its concrete manifestation in the suppression of national liberties and in the persecution of the Jewish race.”

Charles Pichon, a leading wartime correspondent, described Pius XII’s wartime addresses succinctly: “The pontifical texts condemned most strongly the anti-Semitic persecutions, the oppression of invaded lands, the inhuman conduct of the war, and also the deification of the Race, the State and the Class.” (The Vatican and its Role in World Affairs, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1950, p. 167)

In reaction to his 1942 Christmas address, the Nazis themselves, furious about Pius XII’s public stand, railed: “That this speech is directed exclusively against the New Order in Europe as seen in National Socialism is clear in the Papal statement that mankind owes a debt to ‘all who during the war have lost their Fatherland and who, although personally blameless have, simply on account of their nationality and origin, been killed or reduced to utter destitution.’ Here he is virtually accusing the German people of injustice towards the Jews, and makes himself the mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals.” (The Vatican in the Age of the Dictators, 1922-1945, by Anthony Rhodes, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973, p.273).

Similar examples of Pius’s anti-Nazi, pro-Jewish statements are found in the wartime issues of the Palestine Post, the New York Times, the Tablet of London and the Jewish press of various countries...
Much more where that came from. Read the whole thing. For more, check out Ronald Rychlak's Hitler, the War, and the Pope, or Rabbi David Dalin's The Myth of Hitler's Pope.

Britain and the Church

The days of Good Queen Bess (aka Bloody Bess) are here again:

A new report by the leading charity – backed by a legal opinion from a leading QC – says the Bill will make it impossible for all churches and faith-based charities to insist that their senior staff lead private lives in accordance with their religious beliefs.

CARE said that, under the Bill, which will be considered by the House of Lords on Monday, it would be illegal for a Christian charity to sack a senior manager for adultery or living an openly gay lifestyle.

The same rules would, it added, apply to Muslim and Jewish churches and charities.

However, the biggest potential showdown is likely to be between the government and Britain's 4.3 million Catholics over the church's tradition of an all-male, celibate priesthood.

Previous legislation in 2007, also backed by Ms Harman, the Commons Leader and equality minister, forced the closure of two Catholic adoption agencies for refusing to comply with new laws requiring them to place children with gay couples.

CARE's report – A Little Bit Against Discrimination? – warns that the proposals contained in the Bill are a serious threat to religious liberty in Britain.

An omnibus bill intended to include all elements of equality legislation is about to harm religious liberty. There's an irony there, somewhere...

Govt. Worker PensionPlans and National Debt

Here's an interesting piece from Reason magazine. An excerpt:

Although Americans may have a vague sense that the nation has run up a great deal of debt, the public employee benefit problem is not well known. Yet the wave of benefit promises is poised to wash away state and local government budgets and large portions of the incomes of most Americans. Most of these benefits are vested, meaning that they have the standing of a legal contract. They cannot be reduced. And the government employees’ allies, such as California’s legislative Democrats, are cleverly blocking some of the more obvious exit strategies.

For instance, when the city of Vallejo went bankrupt after coughing up 75 percent of its budget to police and firefighters, the state Assembly introduced legislation that would allow cities to go bankrupt only if they get approval from a commission. Such a commission would of course be dominated by union-friendly members. The result: Cities would be stuck making good on contracts they cannot afford to fulfill.

When the economy was booming, these structural problems could be hidden. But not now. As debt loads become unsustainable, you can expect cuts in services, tax increases, pension-obligation bonds, or some combination of the three.

The whole thing is well worth a read. So we have a world credit default swap market estimated to stand in the trillions, a national debt at around 12 trillion and climbing, major banks around the world whose balance sheets still do not accurately represent the nature and extent of their holdings (and levels of debt, bad investments--including their participation in the folly of the unregulated, labyrinthine, Byzantine credit default swap market), and any number of hidden obligations on the part of the US government at all levels. The very picture of financial health. Once again, we live in an age in which international bankers and moneymen will be the targets of conspiracy theories. And, once again, these theories will have been generated by reason of the actions of the money men themselves.

Sad News out of Fatima

Someone decided to vandalize the statues in the square:
In a press release Monday, officials from the shrine announced that in the early hours of Sunday morning, four statutes on the sides of the church as well as the church itself were painted with graffiti. In the John Paul II Plaza, statutes of Popes John Paul II and Paul VI were painted. In the Pius XII Plaza, statues of Pope Pius XII and Bishop José Alves Correia da Silva were painted. The graffiti includes the words "Islam," "moon," "sun," "Muslim" and "mosque."
And no, one cannot say, "Well, obviously, this was done by Muslims," nor can one say, "Well, obviously, this was done by Islamophobes." This doesn't make much sense. "Moon"? "Sun"? This has the feel of random acts of graffiti, done by younger perpetrators who are jumbling things together. "Fatima" has deep significance in Islam. The miracle of the sun occurred at Fatima, appearing to demonstrate the supernatural nature of the experience of the three children. "Moon" only makes sense to me as a reference to the crescent, commonly used in Islamic iconography. And...what is this supposed to mean? Some attempt to claim Fatima as an Islamic site, rather than a Christian? Some attempt to include Islam in the nature of the honor done to Mary at the site? Some attempt to cause local Muslims problems by making it look like they did this? Since the report says the graffiti "includes the words," there's probably more to the graffiti which could make motivations more explicit. Anyway--sad news.

Brave New World

made manifest:

When a lesbian couple from Terrace, B.C., decided they wanted a child of their own, they were overjoyed that a good friend agreed to donate his sperm.

They were going to have a family.

Before the child was born in October 2006, the donor signed an agreement stating that the female couple would be the parents and that he would consent to an adoption of the child. But since the child's birth, things haven't gone according to plan. The donor began making frequent visits to the female couple's home and referring to the child as "his son" in the community. He also allowed his family to send him congratulations and gifts on the birth of the child.

These are the allegations set out in a statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The lesbian couple is now suing the donor for willful infliction of mental suffering and breach of contract, and is asking the court for a restraining order against their former friend. The couple and the sperm donor cannot be named to protect the identity of the child. The parties in the lawsuit declined to be interviewed.

The case has raised questions about the rights of sperm donors across the country and whether adults should have the power to contract away the rights of children before they are born...

Showing once again why the traditional family best fits the natural order. One does not get these contortions.

On Suffering, the Mystical Body, and Deification

Dawn Eden has a remarkable column on suffering here:

“Protestantism,” he said, “has no theology of suffering.” That’s not strictly true, of course – Protestantism, to borrow Whitman’s phrase, is large and contains multitudes. But once one discovers what the Church has articulated about the meaning of membership in Christ’s Mystical Body, such as Pius XII’s encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, biblical teachings about suffering shine forth in their full meaning. This is particularly true with regard to St. Paul’s words in Colossians 1:24 (the key text for John Paul II in his apostolic letter Salvifici Doloris): “[I] now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church.” Fulton J. Sheen observed in Calvary and the Mass: This does not mean our Lord on the Cross did not suffer all He could. It means rather that the physical, historical Christ suffered all He could in His own human nature, but that the Mystical Christ, which is Christ and us, has not suffered to our fullness. All the other good thieves in the history of the world have not yet admitted their wrong and pleaded for remembrances. Our Lord is now in heaven. He therefore can suffer no more in His human nature but He can suffer more in our human natures. So He reaches out to other human natures, to yours and mine, and asks us to do as the thief did, namely, to incorporate ourselves to Him on the Cross, that sharing in His Crucifixion we might also share in His Resurrection, and that made partakers of His Cross we might also be made partakers of His glory in heaven. Pope Benedict XVI makes a similar point in his encyclical Spe Salvi, quoting Bernard of Clairvaux’s expression that “God cannot suffer, but he can suffer with.”"

Do read the whole thing. But this ties into the earlier discussions of deification. We are made members of the Body of Christ by the sacraments, by our faith, but first and foremost, by the grace of God which is the presence of the Holy Spirit. Given this, then, we are joined into the life of God. We are united with the Trinitarian life through the workings of the Holy Spirit made possible by Christ's incarnation, passion, and resurrection. God shares in our lives--we share in God's life. We are members of the Mystical Body of Christ, whose soul is the Holy Spirit. That grace which is drawn down by the prayers of one can affect many through the union of the members. That sin which wounds one also affects many through the union of the members. We are one, and many. We are God's own children.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Three Visions of the Apocalypse

What does it mean that the two great memes of the last 50-70 years or so have included, not just the end of the world, but also stopping the end of the world? We have two avenues of thought. The one embraces it. Apocalypticism is a great hope--the transformative event, the step into the next realm, or simply release from the painful present. Then there's a middle genre--we shunt the end of the world sideways somehow, so that the properly old die but men can continue, can go on much as we have (Lord of the Rings may be in this). Not a proper eschaton, then, but a middle way. Then we've got the sort of mindset epitomized by the quest for eternal youth, the metahumans, the sort who worship the mind melded to the machine as a greatly liberating option. We go beyond ourselves by technology, or in some way gain immortality. Usually this view is still shadowed by the haunting presence of mortality, even if it does demand a lot longer to come and claim us, but we die eventually nonetheless--but we don't permit that to trouble us. We focus on the perpetual pursuit of youth, of life, of adventure, of cheating death and outwitting fate and being smarter than the Lord of all that is, represented by some appropriately God the Father like figure, or god-like figure at least. And we're smart. And we win. The first seems like an overeager Christian view--unhealthy, in a way, a failure of the patient waiting and trust that we're supposed to maintain--almost suicidal, in a way. Overeager for death. The second feels about right. We aim to defeat evil, willing to lose our lives in so doing, and thus have the hope of coming through, evil having been shed from the world and the good going to their proper place, wherever that may be. A harmonious wrapping up. Sorrow and loss, combined with great joy and victory. The proper end comes in its own time--it may be now--but we will have obeyed, will have fought the good fight. The last--this seems to smack of the evil one. The world ender is evil, and must be outsmarted. There is a way out, there must be a way out, there's always a way out! We can take him out, we can do it, we can make this world last forever! Even if it came from him, we'll take it back, we'll claim it, he has no right! Who is he to judge us? And we set ourselves to fight heaven. See Legion for an example of this. And possibly, thinking about it, the most recent Doctor Who called "The End of Time." Where are we, then? What does this indicate, if all three strands are powerfully present in human culture right now? The latter may incline us to fight, not just evil, but God as well since he shall bring about the end--indeed, God the Father is the only one who can. The first may cause us to be reckless and pursue death. The middle--there's Michael O'Brien, and Lewis, and Chesterton, and all of them. Robert Hugh Benson, all the great Christian apocalypticists. I have no idea if this illuminates anything--just got hit by the thought.

Mark Shea on Avatar

Does quickly, clearly, and well, what I was fumbling around trying to do:

Bennett...quite properly understands that for all Cameron’s ham-fistedness, there remain deeply embedded in Avatar some profoundly Catholic themes which we reject and sneer at only to our impoverishment. A character named Jake Sully (Jacob=Deceiver) who is “sullied” by sin and saddled by what St. Paul calls “this body of death” (Rom 7:24) is, through the ministrations of a character named “Grace Augustine”, reborn into a glorified new body. He is confronted with his own capacity for evil, undergoes death to his old self, learns to embrace self-sacrificial love, and becomes a member of a new family, a priest-king who comes to live in harmony with his neighbor and with a New Heaven and a New Earth.

Where have we heard these themes before? And why are they so popular?

We’ve heard them from the gospel. They are popular because they pluck strings at the deepest levels of our being. Tolkien plucked at these strings with his tree-loving heros who rely on the grace of the Valar to overcome the power of the Ring with self-sacrifice. C.S. Lewis does something similar in his Space Trilogy when his simple hrossa natives on Mars are seen being pointlessly slaughtered by the evil European materialist Weston whose plans to rape the Martian landscape are indistinguishable from the mining corporation that is raping Pandora. In all such stories is a profoundly Christian theme: burning shame for the loss of Eden and longing for the redemptive power of Christ. We need not fear that theme in stories any more than we need fear it in Genesis 3.

Pelosi's Archbishop

On Catholics, Free Will, and Freedom of Conscience:
It is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching to conclude that our freedom of will justifies choices that are radically contrary to the Gospel—racism, infidelity, abortion, theft. Freedom of will is the capacity to act with moral responsibility; it is not the ability to determine arbitrarily what constitutes moral right... As participants in the life of the civil community, we Catholic citizens try to follow our consciences, guided, as described above, by reason and the grace of God. While we deeply respect the freedom of our fellow citizens, we nevertheless are profoundly convinced that free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom. Because of these convictions we commit ourselves to a continuing witness to, and dialogue about, the Gospel values that underlie our understanding of freedom, conscience, and moral choice.
Well done, Archbishop Niederauer!

In Eerie Anti-Christian News...

we get this from the Prop 8 trial in California:
Southern Baptist Convention and Catholic belief statements on homosexuality and "gay marriage" were read Wednesday during the California Prop 8 trial as examples of prejudice and bias against homosexuals -- a courtroom moment conservative attorneys say underscores that religious liberty is at stake. The exchange on day three of the federal trial occurred when San Francisco attorney Therese Stewart asked Yale University Professor George Chauncey -- both of whom support "gay marriage" -- to read the respective religious denomination documents. She then asked him if they derived from stereotypical and prejudice views of homosexuals, and he replied "yes." At Stewart's prodding, Chauncey then said views on racial segregation also were built upon deeply held religious views. Alliance Defense Fund attorney Jordan Lorence, who was in the courtroom, called the exchange "chilling.
Any ruling which appeared to criminalize Catholic/Christian teaching will, of course, be challenged all the way to the top. But the fact that such a challenge could ever possibly be needed in the country indicates something about where we're headed.

An Evangelical on the Edge

Here's an interesting take on the current Protestant/Catholic situation in America, coming from an Evangelical who sounds like he's being drawn towards Rome:
I know that personally, the more I study and grow the less impressed I am by evangelicalism. Yes, RC has some major issues in faith and practice, but if you take Evangelicalism as a whole I think evangelicals are making it pretty easy to convert. Like a lot of issues, this one goes a lot deeper, and requires far more argumentation, than many are prepared to deal with.

As far as I am concerned the base issue is authority. When an Evangelical Protestant (Independent/Baptist/Pentecostal/etc.) makes a false claim there is no higher authority to pronounce judgment on it. Everyone “does what is right in his own eyes” so-to-speak. On the other hand, accepting Rome’s doctrines is not enough – one must accept the papacy no matter what happens in the future. This flies in the face of sola Scriptura, and Protestants can’t bend on this one. As RC’s are quick to point out though, sola Scriptura hasn’t saved Protestantism from going bad in many areas. We can say we base our beliefs on the Bible all day long, but that’s what homosexuals say (and are now ordained in several major denominations), that’s what abortionists say (and are accepted as church members), that’s what adulterers say (in their special home groups), etc. From crazed fundamentalists to goofball seeker churches, we just have to say, “Oh well – that’s just how they do it.” It gets VERY frustrating.

Meanwhile the RC Church is infiltrating culture and turning the tide on abortion, upholding biblical marriage, etc. and not embarrassing Christianity in the process (pedophile priests notwithstanding . . . ). Then I read Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, the Church Fathers, even Luther, and I see how many of our main problems with RC are really just what the Church believed for nearly 1500 years. The creeds that determine orthodoxy are all pre-Reformation. The doctrines of God are being challenged by Open Theists, Process Theologians, etc., who are pretty much all what? Protestants! Add in the beauty of the liturgy compared to rock concert worship and juice-and-crackers “communion,” and the case for evangelicalism starts being more and more difficult to sustain!

There's more--do read the whole thing. He has some good recommendations at the end for Protestants looking to understand Catholic teaching (at least from the Catholic side--I haven't read the non-Catholic ones, but judging from the even-handed tenor of the post, I'd be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.)

More on Avatar

Mark Shea has a small round up of recent reaction, along with this amazing analysis from Rod Bennet:
Like Pixar’s recent WALL*E, Avatar depicts a cautionary imagined universe which might almost have been dreamed up by Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, or Dorothy Day. These 20th century Catholic “Distributists” as they were called, prophesied a state of affairs wherein Capitalism and Communism would eventually agree to call off their long, destructive stand-off and allow a merger to take place, a cynical marriage of convenience between Big Business and Big Government for their own mutual benefit. In WALL*E it was the ubiquitous Buy N Large corporation, whose mile-long “Ultra-stores” sold “all you need and so much more” to an increasingly sheep-like population but whose W. Bush-like CEO also happened to be President of the World. Here in Avatar it’s the Resources Development Administration (or RDA), a “quasi-governmental administrative entity” which started as a mere globe-straddling monopoly but has ended up with the ability to use the nation’s armed forces the way Andrew Carnegie used Pinkerton guards, with an RDA officer on every battlefield giving direct orders to the generals. In both cases, nothing like “the free enterprise system” exists any longer: Big Business has come to rely on Big Government completely (just as Wal-Mart relies on Food Stamps, property-tax breaks, and other forms of massive corporate welfare to continue paying out its poverty-level wages) and Big Government (ever since the Soviet Union failed for lack of cash) has realized it can’t get along without Big Business. Belloc called this situation “The Servile State” but you don’t need quite his level of genius to see it coming these days, if, indeed, it hasn’t got here already. Not with Mr. Bush’s TARP program in the news, guaranteeing Federal control of the banks from now on, and Mr. Obama’s orgy of government buy-outs for former business enterprises such as General Motors all over the front pages (GM, which used to be, if you’ll recall, the largest corporation in the world—the Buy N Large of its day—and may yet be again, though under “entirely new management”). Even the redoubtable ex-Soviet mouthpiece Pravda observed these developments and pronounced them “the death of private enterprise” in America…and they were right. In truth, today’s political economy is something horribly new and different—the bastard love-child of its quarrelsome 19th century parents (Capitalism and Communism) with the many of the worst qualities of both. Avatar then, is no indictment of Capitalism, a system which, like Communism, is extinct in Cameron’s world…and in ours, too, IMHO. James Cameron may not have read the Catholic Distributists (nor have the makers of WALL*E in all likelihood, though director Andrew Stanton is, in fact, a Christian of some stripe) but for keen, observant eyes like theirs, so adept at “discerning the face of the sky,” all one has to do is “discern the signs of the times” (Mt 16:3). I, myself, wish more Christians could find a way to step out of the smothering hothouse of the left/right culture war and learn to do the same.

The Church in the Middle East

Where to begin? John Allen brings us news about the Holy Land Coordination, a Vatican sponsored initiative aimed at raising awareness among the lands of the free Church about the true depth of problems confronting Middle Eastern Christians:

Given those oft-grim realities, a cherished Vatican dream is to mobilize Catholics in the world's centers of power, above all the United States and Europe, to accomplish two things:

  • Pressuring Western political leaders to engineer a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, premised on the "two-state solution." Benedict XVI most recently reiterated his support for both Israeli and Palestinian sovereignty in his annual address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See on Monday.
  • Finding concrete ways to support the Christians of the Holy Land. It's a long-standing lament in some circles that while Jews around the world are famously supportive of Israel, and Muslim charities and Arab states direct significant resources to the Palestinians, there isn't always a similar commitment in the Christian world to supporting the Christian presence in the Holy Land.
More needs to be done, and quickly, if the Christians of the Middle East are to survive. Allen goes into detail with Bishop Kicanas, vice president of the USCCB, on what the bishops saw on their visit and the nature of the situation. The conclusions of the most recent visit of the Holy Land Coordination have been announced:
At the conclusion of a five-day visit to the Holy Land, a group of European and North American bishops-- including Bishop Gerald Kicanas, vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops-- lamented the “deteriorating situation” there. “There is a growing distance between Israelis and Palestinians,” they note, and “a lack of human contact that undermines trust and dialogue. Violence, insecurity, home demolitions, permit and visa problems, the route of the wall, expropriation of lands and other policies threaten both a two-state solution and the Christian presence.”
In related, though geographically distant, news, the Church in Malaysia continues to suffer:

A tenth church has been vandalized in Malaysia following a court decision that permitted a Catholic publication to use the word “Allah” to refer to God. In all, eight churches have been firebombed, and two have been splashed with paint.

In addition, the offices of the lawyers who represented the Catholic publication were ransacked, and stones were thrown at a Sikh temple-- apparently because Sikhs also refer to “Allah.”

The nation of 27.7 million is 60% Muslim, 19% Buddhist, 6% Hindu, 6% Protestant, and 3% Catholic.

And in Egypt, the Copts continue to suffer:
Egyptian State Security has intensified its intimidation of the Coptic Church and Christians in Nag Hammadi, and neighboring Bahgoura, by carrying out random arrests of Christian youth. The campaign against Christians started on Friday January 7, 2010 and is continuing; multiple members of families have been arrested without warrants. Most arrests are being carried at dawn. More than one hundred Christian youth have been arrested without charge.

Arrests of Copts after every sedition is the usual scenario as a pressure card in the hands of State Security to force the church and Copts to accept "reconciliation", in which Coptic victims give up all criminal and civil charges against the perpetrators. Because of the reaction in Egypt and worldwide to the shootings and the role of the State Security, Bishop Kyrollos was asked issue statements downplaying the negligence of State Security. It is believed the arrests of the Coptic youth is a pressure tactic to force him to recant his accusations.

Pray for them. Support organizations such as Aid to the Church in Need. Read books such as Fr. Samir Khalil Samir's 111 Questions on Islam, George Weigel's Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism, and Thomas Madden's The New Concise History of the Crusades.


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